Sir David Amess latest news – Calls for Southend to become a city in Tory MP's honour as terror cops search London homes

GIVING Southend-on-Sea city status would be a "wonderful tribute" to Sir David Amess, the Home Secretary said today.

Sir David, who died after being stabbed while meeting constituents on Friday, was a ceaseless campaigner for the Essex town on the Thames Estuary to be designated a city.

Priti Patel said on Sunday there will be "work in Government" on the prospect of realising Sir David's long-running campaign.

Asked on the BBC One Andrew Marr's Show whether the Government was likely to grant Southend city status, Ms Patel said: "It brings a smile to me and it warms our hearts because I think of his last PMQs, questions to the Prime Minister, I was in the chamber, it was about Southend.

"I know Southend as an Essex MP as well. Look, that's not for me to say at all. There will be work in Government on that."

Since Friday, a number of MPs and others have fondly recalled the Southend West MP's energy for the cause, including the frequency with which he mentioned the campaign in the House of Commons.

Sir David even secured an adjournment debate on the subject in the Commons in December 2019.

Read our David Amess live blog for the latest updates

  • Joseph Gamp

    Police seen at north-west London address

    A police officer was seen emerging from the address in Lady Somerset Road, north-west London, carrying several large bags marked 'police'.

    The location being searched is believed to be linked to the investigation into the killing of Sir David Amess MP on Friday.

    There has been a police presence at the site throughout the day, with two officers standing guard in front of the house.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Pope Francis condemns Sir David Amess stabbing

    Pope Francis on Sunday condemned recent attacks in Norway, Afghanistan and Britain, in an apparent reference to the stabbing death of parliamentarian David Amess.

    The pope, speaking at his Sunday blessing in St. Peters Square, said he was praying for the families of the victims and urged the perpetrators to "abandon the path of violence"

  • Joseph Gamp

    Mark Francois pays tribute to his 'best friend in politics'

    Rayleigh and Wickford MP Mark Francois described his Conservative colleague Sir David Amess as his "oldest and best friend in politics".

    He laid flowers outside the Belfairs Methodist church in Leigh-on-Sea this afternoon.

    Mr Francois was visibly emotional as he paid tribute to Sir David, standing sombrely for a few moments in front of the floral tributes displayed outside the church where the Southend West MP was stabbed to death on Friday.

    "He was the best bloke I ever knew," Mr Francois said tearfully, adding that he would say more about his friend at the House of Commons tribute this week.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Patel: Police could guard MP surgeries

    Police could be called in to guard MPs' surgeries to keep them safe following the murder of Sir David Amess at a constituency event, the Home Secretary has said.

    Priti Patel said protection for MPs while they are holding talks with constituents was one of the options being considered under a "whole spectrum" of measures to address safety concerns after the Southend West MP's killing on Friday.

    It came as Labour shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy admitted she did not feel safe when going about her Wigan constituency and said she was not sure the situation was "recoverable" for public servants, following the killing of two serving MPs in the past five years.

    Conservative Sir David, 69, who had been an MP since 1983, was meeting constituents at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, on Friday afternoon when he was stabbed multiple times.

    His death comes after the Labour MP for Batley and Spen, Jo Cox, was murdered in 2016 as she was on her way to a constituency surgery.

  • [email protected]

    Coat of arms for Sir David

    Speaker of the House of Commons Lindsay Hoyle says he would like to see Sir David Amess’ coat of arms put up in the House of Commons.

    Speaking to Times Radio he confirmed there would be a chance for MPs to pay tribute to Sir David when the House of Commons sat in the afternoon.

    Serving MPs who are killed in action while in office have traditionally been given the honour of having their coat of arms placed on the walls of the debating chamber.

    It originally started as a tribute to MPs who were killed fighting in wars but now it is a tribute to anyone who is killed on the job. The last person to receive the honour was Jo Cox with a plague designed by her children.

  • [email protected]

    Lindsay Hoyle went ahead with constituency surgery

    Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has said he went ahead with his constituency surgery as normal on Friday evening, despite the killing of Sir David Amess.

    Sir Lindsay said it was essential that MPs were able to retain their relationship with their constituents.

    “We have got to make sure that democracy survives this,” he told BBC2’s Newsnight.

    “I did my surgery tonight because people are not going to stop us. The one thing we have is a relationship with our constituents,

    “It is that relationship we have built up, that trust with the electorate where they can meet their MP, share those issues, share those problems. What David was doing today, I have done tonight.”

  • [email protected]

    Priti Patel to face questions over suspect

    The Home Secretary will face questions concerning what was known about a suspect held on suspicion of murdering MP Sir David Amess as police were granted extra time to question him.

    During Sunday morning broadcast interviews, Priti Patel is likely to be pressed over whether the 25-year-old man was known to the Government’s anti-terrorist programme prior to the fatal stabbing of Sir David on Friday.

    Media reports said the suspect has the same details as a man previously referred to Prevent, however, there has been no official confirmation of whether this is the case.

    Sir David, 69, who had been an MP since 1983, was meeting constituents at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea on Friday afternoon when he was stabbed multiple times in a frenzied attack.

    The MP spoke to PR professional Richard Hillgrove to discuss the Children’s Parliament, an event where youngsters are matched with MPs, soon before the attack, the Sunday Times reported.

  • [email protected]

    ‘An attack on democracy’

    Home Secretary Priti Patel has condemned the killing of Sir David Amess as an “attack on democracy”, which raises renewed questions about the security of MPs.

    Ms Patel expressed concern that 69-year-old Sir David was fatally stabbed while holding a constituency surgery in his Southend West seat.

    His death came just five-and-a-half years after Labour MP Jo Cox was killed by a far right extremist in her Batley and Spen constituency in West Yorkshire.

    Ms Patel said she was “devastated” by the loss of Sir David, who she described as a “kind and loyal friend”.

    “That he was killed while going about his constituency duties is heart-breaking beyond words. It represents a senseless attack on democracy itself,” she said in a series of tweets.

    “Questions are rightly being asked about the safety of our country’s elected representatives and I will provide updates in due course.”

  • [email protected]

    Iain Duncan Smith on Sir David

    ***This is a comment piece by Iain Duncan Smith***

    I CONFESS to shedding a few tears when I heard of the brutal death of David Amess, as I thought of his family which I know he loved so much.

    He knew he was vulnerable, as all MP’s are when we invite constituents to come and discuss their problems face to face.

    Yet he also knew that face to face contact with our constituents is a vital part of the job.

    Without it, our whole political system would mean less and we would become strangers to those we serve. 

    For most of our constituents we often become the last hope as they battle with institutions, trying to seek redress for problems damaging their lives.

    Read more here

  • [email protected]

    Sir Amess tribute to be added to Dame Vera Lynn statue

    The daughter of Dame Vera Lynn has said she will include a tribute to Sir David Amess in a memorial to her mother that the Tory MP campaigned for.

    Virginia Lewis-Jones, a family friend of Sir David, said she will add a tribute to the statue of her mother once it is created.

    The Southend West MP supported and helped launch the Dame Vera Lynn Memorial Appeal, a campaign working to have a statue erected in honour of the forces’ sweetheart after her death.

    The statue is expected to cost around £1.5 million which has not yet been raised, but renewed efforts are being made to publicise the campaign and to now honour Sir David.

    The statue will be designed and created by sculpture Paul Day and will be situated on the White Cliffs of Dover, the subject of one of Dame Vera’s most famous songs.

    Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Ms Lewis-Jones said: “I think in some way, David should also be remembered in the memorial for what he has done to this point and hopefully in spirit will continue to do.

    “We’ve got to continue, not only for my mother but also for David for what he began and for what we will continue to do because it’s half his memorial as well.”

  • [email protected]

    ‘Dave would not have wanted that’

    Craig Williams, MP for Montgomeryshire, also held a surgery on Saturday alongside his Conservative colleague from the Welsh Parliament, Russell George.

    Mr Williams tweeted: “Busy surgery with @russ_george in #Guilsfield this morning. Thought of Sir David Amess throughout.

    “A special shout out to @DyfedPowys for their presence and reassurance. #Montgomeryshire”

    Kieran Mullan, the Tory MP for Crewe and Nantwich, tweeted: “Surgery today, we must not let people force us to do things differently.

    “David would not have wanted that.”

  • [email protected]

    All four surviving PMs pay tribute

    All four surviving former prime ministers also paid tribute to the long-serving MP.

    Theresa May said his death was “heartbreaking” and “a tragic day for our democracy”, adding: “A decent man and respected Parliamentarian, killed in his own community while carrying out his public duties.”

    David Cameron said it Sir David was “the most committed MP you could ever hope to meet”, and said: “David Amess was a kind & thoroughly decent man. Words cannot adequately express the horror of what has happened today.”

    Tony Blair, who also became an MP for the first time in the 1983 election, said he was “horrified” by the attack, commenting: “Though on opposite political sides I always found him a courteous, decent and thoroughly likeable colleague who was respected across the House.”

    Sir John Major said: “This is truly heartbreaking news of a good and decent man who – for over 30 years – was a dedicated public servant. My heart goes out to his family.”

  • [email protected]

    David’s family ‘can’t believe this happened’

    THE devastated cousins of tragic MP Sir David Amess have laid flowers outside the Essex church where he was yesterday murdered.

    The politician was meeting constituents when he was brutally knifed by a man who had quietly waited for an appointment.

    While his wife Julia and five children grieve privately today, a bouquet signed from family has been placed at the scene.

    The moving note reads: “RIP David. Thinking of your lovely family.

    “Can’t believe this has actually happened.

    “We will always love you.”

  • [email protected]

    Coat of arms for Sir David

    Speaker of the House of Commons Lindsay Hoyle says he would like to see Sir David Amess' coat of arms put up in the House of Commons.

    Speaking to Times Radio he confirmed there would be a chance for MPs to pay tribute to Sir David when the House of Commons sat in the afternoon.

    Serving MPs who are killed in action while in office have traditionally been given the honour of having their coat of arms placed on the walls of the debating chamber.

    It originally started as a tribute to MPs who were killed fighting in wars but now it is a tribute to anyone who is killed on the job. The last person to receive the honour was Jo Cox with a plague designed by her children.

  • [email protected]

    Tory MP says members will now be ‘wary’ following Sir David death

    Conservative MP Bob Blackman said MPs will now be “wary” of what they do in light of Sir David Amess’s death.

    He told the PA news agency: “I’ve had demonstrations that were outside my office from various different groups at different times, which is quite scary, particularly for staff.

    “I think it’s like everything else, you’ve just got to be wary of what you do now, because, unfortunately, we don’t know what else is going to happen.”

  • [email protected]

    Speaker's tribute to Sir David

    ***This is a comment piece by Speaker of the House of Commons, Lindsay Hoyle***

    SIR David Amess was a regular in our office. Not because, like many MPs, he wanted to secure a debate or ask for something, but because he genuinely liked a gossip and a chat with my staff.

    If he wasn’t talking about his family – he was a very proud husband and father of five – he would be talking about his love of animals or extolling the delights of his constituency of Southend West, a place that he told us – and the House at every opportunity – most certainly deserved to have city status.

    But he also wanted to know what was going on in the lives of my colleagues, worrying if one of them wasn’t there – and when one member of staff retired after 28 years’ service, bestowing upon him umpteen presents to show his appreciation.

    That was David in Parliament – and that was David in his constituency. A man who found a connection with everyone, no matter their background – a man who loved a laugh and always had a kind, or cheeky, word to say.

    Read more here

  • [email protected]

    Suspect named

    THE man arrested for the murder of Tory MP Sir David Amess has been named as Ali Harbi Ali.

    The 25-year-old, who is a British national with Somali heritage, is not thought to have been previously known to the security services.

    However, the investigation is still in its early stages and that could change if new details emerge.

    The suspect was arrested on Friday at a Methodist church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, where the MP for Southend West had been meeting constituents.

    Sources confirmed his name to the Sun last night.

  • [email protected]

    Home Secretary orders immediate review MP’s security

    Home Secretary Priti Patel has ordered an immediate review of MPs’ security following the killing of Sir David Amess while meeting constituents.

    Ms Patel met police and representatives of the security and intelligence agencies after the 69-year-old MP was fatally stabbed as he held a surgery in his Southend West constituency.

    A spokesman for the Home Secretary said that she had also spoken to the Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle.

    “The Home Secretary has asked all police forces to review security arrangements for MPs with immediate effect and will provide updates in due course,” the spokesman said.

    Earlier, Ms Patel said she was “devastated” by the loss of Sir David in what she described as an “attack on democracy itself”.

  • [email protected]

    Boris Johnson lays flowers at scene of attack

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson has laid flowers at the scene of the fatal stabbing of MP Sir David Amess, which police believe could be linked to Islamist extremism.

    Mr Johnson, accompanied by Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle and Home Secretary Priti Patel, laid a wreath at the front of Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, where Sir David was killed on Friday.

    It came after Scotland Yard said the country’s most senior counter-terror officer, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dean Haydon, has formally declared the incident as terrorism and said early investigations have revealed “a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism”.

    Sir David, 69, who had been an MP since 1983, was fatally injured while meeting constituents.

    A 25-year-old man arrested at the scene on suspicion of murder is in custody at an Essex police station.

    Official sources told the PA news agency the man is believed to be a British national with Somali heritage.

    As part of the investigation, officers were also carrying out searches at two addresses in the London area, the Met said.

  • [email protected]

    Sir David attack ‘awful beyond words’

    Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon described the attack as “awful beyond words”.

    She said: “Elected representatives from across the political spectrum will be united in sadness and shock.

    “In a democracy, politicians must be accessible and open to scrutiny, but no-one deserves to have their life taken while working for and representing their constituents.”

  • [email protected]

    Former minister calls for one-to-one meeting ban

    A former Conservative minister has urged his fellow MPs to stop offering face-to-face meetings with constituents following the fatal stabbing of Sir David Amess.

    Tobias Ellwood, who attempted to save the life of Pc Keith Palmer following a terror attack on Westminster in 2017, was quoted on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

    “I would recommend that no MP has a direct surgery until you can move to Zoom,” Mr Ellwood said, in comments originally made on the station’s The World Tonight programme.

    “There are other ways.

    “You can actually achieve an awful lot over the telephone, you can get things moving far faster than having to wait for the surgery date as well.”

  • [email protected]

    ‘An attack on democracy’

    Home Secretary Priti Patel has condemned the killing of Sir David Amess as an “attack on democracy”, which raises renewed questions about the security of MPs.

    Ms Patel expressed concern that 69-year-old Sir David was fatally stabbed while holding a constituency surgery in his Southend West seat.

    His death came just five-and-a-half years after Labour MP Jo Cox was killed by a far right extremist in her Batley and Spen constituency in West Yorkshire.

    Ms Patel said she was “devastated” by the loss of Sir David, who she described as a “kind and loyal friend”.

    “That he was killed while going about his constituency duties is heart-breaking beyond words. It represents a senseless attack on democracy itself,” she said in a series of tweets.

    “Questions are rightly being asked about the safety of our country’s elected representatives and I will provide updates in due course.”

  • [email protected]

    Candlelit vigil held in honour of Sir David

    Hundreds of people attended a candlelit vigil in memory of MP Sir David Amess, who was stabbed to death while meeting constituents.

    Crowds carrying lanterns and candles gathered in darkness at Belfairs sports ground in Leigh-on-Sea in Essex on Saturday to honour Sir David, who was killed the day before.

    The field is where an air ambulance had landed on Friday, as paramedics tried in vain to save the father-of-five at the nearby Belfairs Methodist Church.

    At the vigil, Southend councillor Alan Dear addressed those gathered in a circle around dozens of glowing candles on the grass.

    “For me, and I know for all of you because you’re here, it’s been a terrible 24 hours for all of us,” he said.

    He went on: “For me, (Sir David) was a good friend, and I know he was a good friend to all of you here.

    “He spent 40 years of his life caring for the constituents of Basildon and Southend. He was a very kind, loving, gentle man. A gentleman and a gentle man.

    “He’s a person I will never forget. He’s always been available. If you ever needed help he was there. I know he’s helped many of you here this evening.”

  • [email protected]

    Jacqui Smith warns of ‘attack on democracy’

    Jacqui Smith, former Labour MP and chairwoman of the Jo Cox Foundation, described the fatal stabbing of Sir David Amess as “an attack on our democracy”.

    Ms Smith said it is right to have a review of MPs’ security and physical safety, but she added it needs to go “far further than that”.

    She told BBC Breakfast: “All of us have a responsibility to protect our democracy, which is so important for this country. We can’t do that unless we protect and respect those people who are elected as part of it.

    “Sometimes for MPs it’s actually quite difficult for them to argue for special treatment, but they are special.

    “They are the people who are elected in our democracy to represent us and we all therefore have a responsibility to treat them with respect and to ensure that they’re safe as they go about that job.”

  • [email protected]

    Labour MP confirms she has been contacted by police

    Labour MP Naz Shah said she had been contacted by officers who are a part of Operation Bridger, a nationwide police protective security operation, and they had been “amazing” towards her.

    Earlier today, a National Police Chiefs’ Council spokesman said every UK MP will be contacted in light of the fatal stabbing of Sir David Amess.

    The Bradford West MP declined to say what measures were being taken to protect her.

    “For me, the more we talk about what measures we’re taking, the more it raises our risk,” she told the PA news agency.

    “I think we’ve got to be very careful about what we put out there about which measures we’re taking because that, by default, increases our risk.”

    Source: Read Full Article